?xml:namespace>Slovakia’s two VIP-configured Tupolev Tu-154 airliners are to be overhauled in Russia at a cost of almost $12 million, with Moscow picking up the bill to reduce its debt to the eastern European country. Work on the first aircraft will cost almost $7 million, and the second $5 million, says the Slovak interior ministry. Slovakia had considered new aircraft.
At the end of 2003 – the latest date for which figures are available – Russia owed Slovakia $109 million. The debt has since been reduced after Russia agreed to upgrade Slovakia’s Mikoyan MiG-29s.